June 30th, 2011

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Harvey, Ozzie, and Mr. J are "The Unholy Three" (apparently) in Bob Hall's BATMAN D.O.A.

I'm not sure why, but there was a very brief period around 2000 when it seemed like DC was all about Batman graphic novels by Bob Hall, the former Avengers/Squadron Supreme artist whose creative decisions--according to Jim Shooter--were inadvertantly responsible for turning Hank Pym into a wife-beater. Oh, and Hall also illustrated the Marvel graphic novel Emperor Doom, where Doom takes over the world, a magnificently badass story that deserved to be reprinted. But Hall just drew those stories, whereas at DC, he became the writer/artist of a handful of Batman prestige format stories.

For whatever reason during 98-00, DC was all about Hall, and Hall was all about the Joker. First, there was the I, Joker, a particularly weird Elseworlds. Then there was It's Joker Time, an instantly-dated satire of Jerry Springer style TV. Man, between that, 2003's Jerry Springer: The Opera, and Peter Gabriel's 2002 single "The Barry Williams Show," what the hell is up with everybody deciding to skewer Springer several years AFTER that show's relevancy period? If It's Joker Time came out a couple years later, it would have been about reality TV, and really, there's way more potential for fun if you had Survivor with the Joker.

Between both of these, there was Batman: D.O.A. Much like the classic film noir D.O.A., Batman has been poisoned and has to find out who did it and why before time runs out. Unfortunately for the Batman, the story... hell, the actual cover itself... kind of spoils the would-be-killers right away:

Despite being right there, their appearances in the story itself don't amount to more than a pair of extended cameos, but it's certainly notable enough to look at right here! Because frankly, we just don't see enough of the rogues hanging out, y'know?

Oh, just a warning, though: be prepared to ignore the stupidity of the Penguin being in Arkham Asylum. I hate it when writers put him there, ignoring the fact that he's perfectly sane in favor of "Bat-Villains go in here!" But it's okay, because Hall at least uses Ozzie to great purpose, as he and the Gruesome Twosome undergo a different kind of group therapy at Arkham.

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You know what? I don't care. I want more leisure and scheming time with Harvey, Ozzie, and Mr. J! There's untapped potential here like... well, like crazy! Well, except in Ozzie's case, but that group needs the sane would to ground the others. Wait, would that make them a perfect team of Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, and Chaotic Evil? What the hell would Harvey's D&D alignment be, anyway?